Stargazing in Kielder Forest

Looking for ways to spend your autumn getaway? Take a look at our list of 10 things to do in Northumberland this autumn, featuring everything from stargazing to pumpkin picking.
It may still feel like summer with the recent, sporadic sunny days, but autumn is just around the corner. Soon crisp leaves will lie underfoot, frosty mornings will make it almost impossible to get out of bed, and you will be dusting off your winter coat before you know it.

Here’s how to make the most of the crisp mornings, dark evenings and array of autumn colours in Northumberland:

1) Take a walk in the park


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One of the most irresistible things about autumn is its colours. Oranges and copper browns cloak the landscape, and the Cheviot Hills in particular make for a stunning hiking spot. Roe deer dash over the heather and buzzards circle overhead in the peaceful and frosty landscape. Simply visit Northumberland National Park’s website for their extensive list of route suggestions

2) Espresso yourself


While the cold (and sometimes wet) weather isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s just something about heading into a café and cosying up with a cuppa. Snug cafes with sink-into-seating and menus of frothy coffees and fluffy cakes can be found across the county. The Drift Cafe sits on the seafront, offering staggering views and exquisite breakfasts. Or try Kirkharle Courtyard, tucked away in a picturesque spot in the tiny hamlet of Kirkharle, offering an extensive menu of coffees, brunches and lunches, as well as selling artwork, crafts and local artisan eats to take home with you. Head to our food and drink page for some drink-spiration.

3) Get toasty with a roast


It’s the perfect time of year for a long walk followed by a hearty roast dinner, and an even cosier way to dine is by a crackling open fire. A number of our pubs boast roaring fireplaces perfect for warming your toes after a hike in the crisp autumn air. Grab your pub grub in the countryside at The Holly Bush Inn, The Pheasant Inn, The Angel of Corbridge, The Redesdale Arms or The Barrasford Arms. Or, stop off by the sea and book a table at the seafront pub, The Ship Inn.

4) Cosy Up


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Autumn is the perfect time to huddle up in that cosy cottage, rustic log cabin or quirky accommodation you’ve had your eye on. Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages, Original Cottages, and Crabtree and Crabtree  all offer a range of self-catering options with beautifully-decorated living areas, toasty log burners and sweeping sea views. Or, hide out in a luxurious log cabin with a private hot tub in the forest at Kielder Waterside. Pick a B&B where warm welcomes and outstanding customer service are guaranteed, such as Old Rectory Howick, Shaftoe’s Guesthouse, Post Office House B&B or Market Cross Guesthouse. Take a look at our 'Where to Stay' page for some autumn accommodation inspiration.

5) Watch the sun come up


Northumberland’s sunrises and sunsets are always spectacular, but in autumn they are pretty hard to beat. When the sun is low, a candy-floss-pink illuminates the sky and simply takes your breath away. Wake up early, wrap up warm, pack a flask and take a windy coastal walk for a spectacular sunrise to start your day. Or, head inland and stay out until sunset, where the horizon becomes fiery with the low sun. Hadrian’s Wall is a particular favourite for astounding sunsets behind the ancient wall. 

6) Stare at the Stars


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On that note, along with the dreaded dark nights and mornings comes one of the best things about autumn: the awe-inspiring dark skies that mean you can gaze into the galaxy. The jet black skies make the stars appear clearer, brighter and more spectacular. Search for the stars at Kielder Observatory and graze while you gaze at award-winning Battlesteads’ shooting star supper.  Pull on your walking boots and head to Northumberland National Park, where The Sill, Cawfields, The Stonehaugh Pavilion and Harbottle are all excellent spots for stargazing.

7) Get out of your back Garden


Northumberland's gardens are great places to get away from the crowds in autumn. The swarms of summer visitors have generally cleared, and the ever-changing garden fauna has turned orange and crisp, making for a stunningly colourful day out. From mazes to manor houses and pumpkins to Poison Gardens, we have an array of peaceful gardens to explore at the change of season.

8) Go Wild


Set out on an adventure with North East Guides and learn navigation and mountain skills at some of Northumberland’s most picturesque beauty spots. Or have an overnight stay filled with adventure with Laverock Law’s Wildwalks and Family Adventures, where your experienced Mountain Leader-led hike will be accompanied by strawberries and fondue, as well as some bubbly for the adults.

9) Pick your own pumpkin


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What more festive way to get in the autumnal spirit than by going pumpkin picking? Brocksbushes Farm offers fantastic fruit picking opportunities throughout the year, and throughout October their pumpkin patch is the star of the show. This year, they have expanded the experience as they have more pumpkins, an extra pumpkin patch and will host pumpkin carving activities in their marquee. Pre-booking is essential, so head to their website and sign up to their newsletter to be the first to hear when tickets are available.

10) Save it for a Rainy Day


We can’t ignore the fact that autumn comes with the potential for some drizzly weather. If you wake up to the somewhat comforting sound of rain tapping at your window, head to one of Northumberland’s indoor attractions. Spell-binding Bamburgh Castle, beautiful Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, enchanting Cragside House, Gardens and Estate and more all have weekend opening hours throughout November and December. Each have stunning interiors with rich historical significance to admire and, if the sky does clear, their gardens are worth a wander.

Now you have some inspiration for your autumn adventures, don't forget to tag us on social media when you're sharing snaps of your trip. Tag us at @visitnorthumberland or use our hashtags #visitnorthumberland #endlessexperiences.

Author: Jenni Meikle
Mountain biking in purple heather
Family walk in Northumberland
Family walk in Northumberland
Hadrian's Wall
Surf Northumberland
Outdoor adventures in Northumberland

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